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5 Hamilton Fringe Fest Reviews

Have a look at what people are saying about the festival here.
Magician James Alan's show "Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks," is running at the Main Hall at 141 Park Street theatre. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Things are on course at the Hamilton Fringe Festival — ticket sales are on par with last year and the beverages are flowing.

"I think this is our best Fringe ever," says festival president Brian Morton.

"Plus, Fringe beer is cold, and seems to be selling," he laughs.

About 700 buttons have been sold for the festival so far.

Last year, 2,000 buttons were sold.

Most people go to about three shows during the festival so 2,000 buttons mean about 6,000 admissions to shows.

Though the numbers are good, some theatres are doing better than others.

Crowds have been bigger at the Hamilton Theatre Inc. Studio and the Citadel Theatre. But the newest Fringe venue in the Main Hall at 141 Park Street North hasn't been doing as well.

"I'm hoping people will take a chance on a new venue," Morton said. "That's the most heartbreaking thing, when a show is doing well but the crowd isn't there."

Morton said Fringe Festival shows tend to fill up fast on the second weekend, so people should buy their tickets online in advance.

Here are five reviews of shows running at the Fringe Festival, coming from the Fringe Community Reviewers.

The Girl in the Window

The Girl in the Window is the story of Hal Hammond (Tom Costie) a director obsessed with telling the story of Anne Frank.

Warwick’s performance as the young Anne Frank is mesmerizing. Her eyes and face are extremely expressive and she captures the old soul reflected in Frank’s writing without losing the youthful optimism of a teenage girl. Her performance alone is worth the price of admission. Costie’s performance as Hal is also strong.

Fans of Anne Frank will not be disappointed with this production. With interesting use of multimedia and an unusual take on a well-loved story this show may be for you.

- Crystal Jonasson

Betrayal

Director Mel Aravena and his crew have put together a stylish production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. From the glossy and expensive program to the most detailed set I’ve seen thus far, this group calling themselves Nortesur Artistic Productions has definitely gone to a good deal of effort.

Kayla Whelan stands out for her portrayal of Emma. However, the calibre of acting is consistently good, and no doubt a testament to the University of Windsor Acting program credited by at least three of the cast.

This is a fine production and heartily recommended.

- Roz Woodcock

That The Multitude May Live

I loves me some irony, but . . . trying to penetrate so many plot points, in a play centred around inhabitable-ness, well! I must confess: I got lost at sea. Set in the future, on board a yacht, That The Multitude May Live is a complex science fiction slash psychological thriller slash drama slash love story.

Brenna Rae MacNauton, Matt Szpirglas and Steve O’Brien are all amazing. They deliver some great lines. Their timing is impeccable. When all three are on stage together their combined talents are spellbinding.  Szpirglas, as Luton Maxwell, does not miss a beat. He has an amazing level of control over his facial features. MacNauton’s dialogue is softer, more emotionally imbued; she is a delight to watch. O’Brian’s Walter is a forceful presence throughout. Their altered reality becomes yours.

Writer and director John Bandler wants you to ponder some pretty big questions, and there are plenty of them. Comparing and contrasting his play to various conspiracy theories and acts of terrorism he also channels Sophie’s Choice. We are asked to consider where we are going. If you dig multiple conundrums just go see this play.

- Denyse Terry

Two weird ladies Bomb the Fringe

Dedication and energy were two words that came in my mind walking out of Two Weird Ladies Bomb the Fringe. Laura and Mandy did a lot more than just bomb the Fringe. They cleverly entranced the audience with their hilarious sequences of sketch comedy, while maintaining that magical essence of chemistry with each other that cannot be duplicated.

They immediately conquered breaking the fourth wall right from the start of the show, when both ladies emerged as if from nowhere out of the audience and onto the stage.

Their song lyrics delivered a comedic punch and carried such flow that was entertainingly witty and will keep you at the edge of your seat in anticipation of what else these ladies have under their sleeves. Both ladies evidently work off each other’s energy so effortlessly and their comedic timing felt consistent and not at once awkward or displaced.

Their dedication was not to be forgotten even when the show was over and their limp bodies continued to stay still on the stage until the whole audience departed.  Be prepared to give your abdomen a well-needed workout while experiencing continual outbursts of genuine laughter.  These Second City girls sure know how to execute and write an impressive sketch show for all age demographics and you will not be disappointed.

- Melissa Lang

Trashman’s Dilemma

Playwright, director Bruce Gooch has created a powerful sci-fi futuristic story reminiscent of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

Living under the "Corp" regime where communication is telepathic and constantly monitored through mind control by means of implants in their brains, three characters — two soldiers and a ghostly figure — find themselves in a secluded theatre where mind control by Corp is blocked. They are forced to communicate the old fashioned way, by rediscovering words.

Michael Adam Hogan, Eric Bleyendaal, and Andrei Preda, hailing from Windsor and Guelph create their characters with intensity and skill. The ghostly figure tells how he learned to become invisible, a story that is both ghastly and tragic.

His role is to move the story to its conclusion and to bring the audience into the action by breaking the fourth wall. Sitting in the front row, the action was so intense and powerful; I could feel the goose bumps rise on my arms.

A small kernel of hope is ignited, demonstrating the strength of the human spirit. A strength that has permitted mankind to survive the most horrific conditions.

The dialogue is intelligent and the sound design works, making you sense that the war is right outside the door.

I had a close look at the scanner on the sides of the actor’s heads after the show and they informed me that you could scan them with your blackberry.

This was a great piece of theatre, well acted, well directed and well written. Don’t miss this.

- Patti Cannon